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Sanding Basics and Tips & Tricks

  • Start with lower number coarse grit abrasives before progressing up to higher numbered fine grit abrasives. Use fine grit abrasives to add a finer touch. It might take just two grits or you might have to work through 4 or 5 to get to the finish that you want.
  • When sanding, never skip more than one grit. Start with 80-grit Aluminum Oxide (AO) and progress up to 120-grit AO for AO’s durability. Then, move up to 180-grit Silicon Carbide (SC) for the best finish.
  • Sand bare wood to 180-grit or 220-grit smooth before applying finishes.
  • Use the durability of AO for coarse sanding and the sharpness of SC to provide a superior finish.
  • Be aware of the material you are sanding and the finish you will be putting on it. It is not always wise to sand to a finer grit. Maple sanded to 400-grit will not take a pigmented stain. Pigments work by lodging themselves into nooks and crannies on the surface and without them, the pigment will have no place to stick.
  • Sand faster across the grain when hand sanding and belt sanding by using a combination of cross-grain and with-grain sanding to get the smoothest surface in the fastest manner. Do this with each grit when belt-sanding and hand-sanding. The non-linear sanding action of random-orbit and orbital sanders can't take advantage of the wood's grain properties so simply sand with the grain.

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